Amazon is known for entering industries and totally disrupting them. And it looks Amazon's next target is the internet.
It plans to launch 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit, in an effort to provide internet to “unserved and underserved communities" around the globe. GeekWire recently spotted Amazon's "Project Kuiper" initiative when "Kuiper Systems LLC" made three filings with the ITU, a UN agency responsible for coordinating satellite orbits. Amazon later confirmed Kuiper Systems is its project.
Project Kuiper will reportedly use thousands of satellites at different altitudes in low Earth Orbit: 784 satellites at 367 miles, 1,296 satellites at 379 miles, and 1,156 satellites at 391 miles. They are designed to deliver internet to nearly all of the Earth's population, starting from 56 degrees north (center of Scotland) and ending at 56 degrees south (the bottom of South America).
Project Kuiper will also need several Earth stations for communication. And, wouldn't you know it, Amazon launched AWS Ground Station for space-to-ground communications last year. When contacted for comment, Amazon said it aims to "provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity", and that it's "a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people".
If this sounds familiar, it's because SpaceX, which rivals Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin spaceflight company, also has plans to launch a constellation of satellites. Even Facebook is developing a network of internet-beaming satellites.
Amazon didn't confirm whether it's making its own satellites, nor did it mention when and how the satellites will launch into orbit. Blue Origin, naturally, springs to mind, but Amazon told GeekWire that it "will of course look at all options".